A message from the Director:
The 2018 was a year of extraordinary global water events. The High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) composed of 11 sitting Heads of State, released its outcome document with key recommendations on how to avert global water crisis. The UN General Assembly launched a new UN Decade of Action (2018-2028) under the theme ‘Water for Sustainable Development’. And the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) reviewed the progress with several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the `water goal`- SDG6.
UNU-INWEH was directly involved in all these events. The Institute was engaged in shaping HLPW `data initiative`. We were on the core team that produced UN-Water SDG6 Synthesis Report presented at the HLPF and participated directly in several events of the HLPF. From February 2018, the Institute assumed responsibility, together with UNDESA, to coordinate the UN-Water Task Force to implement the UN Water Action Decade. We finalised the development of our flagship tool – the SDG Policy Support System (PSS) – designed to help UN Member States improve their planning for national SDG6 targets. As part of the PSS initiative, we worked closely with national partners to implement it in five geographically and institutionally diverse countries – Costa Rica, Ghana, Korea, Pakistan and Tunisia. SDG-PSS is now ready for roll-out in more countries in the coming years with the potential to positively influence millions of people.
In 2018, we diversified our work on gender and water. Among other areas, the SDG PSS now explicitly includes Gender as one of the six components required to ensure that the progress to achieving water-related SDGs is truly sustainable; and our new web-based diploma-level course on global water security explicitly includes gender as a core value.
UNU-INWEH expert staff provided direct technical input to methodologies for two specific monitoring indicators for SDG6; the guidelines that emerged or emerging from these efforts target all 193 UN Member States. More than 30 new publications were produced in 2018 – the majority internationally peer-reviewed. Our capacity development programme hosted 30 in-house trainees, and staff participated actively in several dozen international and regional water-related science and policy events. We worked to support science-policy bridging with such major Canadian research programs as FloodNet and Global Water Futures. We also worked with over ten Canadian partners to analyse approaches for Canada to play a more prominent role on the global water stage. A new, long-term UNU-INWEH-McMaster University collaboration agreement was signed this year.
We are pleased to present this report of 2018 activities and achievements to demonstrate how UNU-INWEH grows toward its target of being a stronger institute that informs and influences thinking and action in the global water arena.
Dr Vladimir Smakhtin, Director
United Nations University
Institute for Water, Environment and Health